A low aerial view of a garden in a grassy area bordered by a chain-link fence near an intersection in a town. In the foreground are a tree and nine rectangular, raised garden beds in rows of three, where people are working. More planting areas are visible in the background.
Located at Carter Avenue and South Sixth Street in Mack Park, the Indiana Community Garden marked its 10th year in 2022.

At the northeast corner of Mack Park, just minutes from campus, the Indiana Community Garden has been flourishing—increasing access to fresh vegetables while spreading gardening knowledge—for the last decade.

Essential to reaching the 10-year mark, garden coordinators say, has been the support of IUP volunteers, who have taken on tasks from grant writing and mural painting to weeding, planting, mulching, and harvesting.

Spending time in the garden benefits the volunteers as well. International students have used their plots to grow herbs and vegetables not found in local grocery stores. And, for many volunteers, working in the garden offers their only real connection with the community outside of IUP.

“It gives us an opportunity to meet so many people from the community.”

Volunteer coordinator Kay Snyder, an IUP professor emerita of sociology, said the garden has had frequent help from fraternities and sororities, the Geological Society of IUP, the Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity, and Sustainability, or SEEDS Club.

Those who have helped this semester include new students, who spent an afternoon at the garden during Welcome Week in August, and members of the Student Government Association and Graduate Student Assembly, who volunteered in September. Photographer Brian Henry documented both visits.

A woman wearing a red IUP T-shirt with white lettering and white and blue garden gloves holds a string bean in her right hand as she harvests them from a row of plants in front of a chain-link fence.
Originally from Bangladesh, Atia Rasul is a doctoral candidate in the Composition and Applied Linguistics program who has been volunteering at the garden for a year. “It gives me time away from my dissertation and my academic workload,” she said. “It gives us an opportunity to meet so many people from the community. At IUP, you meet only IUP people, so the networking is amazing.”
One young woman holds a wheelbarrow upright to pour out mulch between raised garden beds while another young woman holding a shovel in her left hand uses her right hand to push mulch out of the wheelbarrow. Another young woman can be seen in the background pushing a wheelbarrow.
From left, Emily Seebold, Kendyl Steighner, and Hannah Yeykal spent an afternoon helping at the garden during Welcome Week in August.
With large cherry tomato plants in front of them, two young women on the left watch a young man on the right as he holds up a broken-off branch of cherry tomatoes, mostly green, and starts to pick one. More of the garden, including a person working, can be seen behind them.
Representing the Student Government Association at the garden in September were, from left, Summer MacPherson, Shagufta Haque, and Blessing Mansallay. A sophomore economics major, Haque helped organize the event with her mother, Atia Rasul.
A man in a red IUP T-shirt and black pants holds a wheelbarrow upright and dumps mulch onto the edge of a garden with tall wildflowers. A grassy area and houses along a side street are in the background.
A school librarian back home in India, Mujib Rahiman is at IUP with the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program. He joined other volunteers at the Indiana Community Garden in September. “We came here to help,” he said. “This is something we can do for the community.”
A woman holding a white bucket points to a garden with tall wildflowers, giving instructions to two young women and two young men who are holding blue or yellow buckets.
Kay Snyder, left, volunteer coordinator at the Indiana Community Garden, gives direction to Hannah Condon and Carson Zadroga, SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity, and Sustainability) Club; Dan Kukula, Student Government Association and SEEDS Club; and Emily Himes, a computer science major who has been volunteering at the garden since summer.
A young girl in gardening gloves and a woman resting on one knee hold up their hands to do a high five. Two other people working in the garden can be seen next to them.
Hard work is worth celebrating. In September, Aram Alshehri, who came to the garden with her mother, Arwa, high-fived Manjushree Patil of India. Patil is at IUP with the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program.